Mentioned in the New Testament, perfection is something that has always been sought after throughout the ages. Although seemingly impossible to gain, the Bible still points us towards the right direction in terms of being perfect.
The Bible states that the person who is closely in line with the ideals set out by God is the closest to perfection. It is not the one who is the most physically perfect, but rather the one who has a ‘perfect heart’. According to theologian Christopher Hall, “In Scripture, the heart is a special microcosmic focus of life’s condition and direction.” Different translations of this quote goes on to detail how understanding the different figures of speech and nuances contained within the text gives us a better understanding of what being perfect is actually about – having the moral excellence, absolute faith in God, and good works.
This brings up an interesting discussion on what constitutes moral excellence versus doing good works. The idea of perfection in the Bible is often seen as trying to work out our salvation and living righteously. This is further emphasized by the seed analogy seen in the Bible, where those who are more focused on their spiritual life will be more likely to bear eternal fruits.
Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t look at perfection as an obligation, but rather as an attribute. According to him, the path to perfection is not set to a single standard, but rather requires an individual to have self-discipline, patience, and patience combined with love for their neighbour.
In addition to this, the Bible also alludes to perfection in simpler terms. It is seen in the form of reviewing what we are supposed to do, such as not lying, forswearing and stealing, and understanding the consequences that our actions may have on ourselves and others.
Hence, the Bible’s view of perfection is both complex and radically different from the image that is often presented in the media. It isn’t about perfecting our physical form or having impeccable academics, but rather understanding that in order to be perfect, one needs to be in tune with the God-given ideals. Something that even with the best of intentions, may not be fully achievable.
Despite the ideal of perfection presented in the Bible, one can never truly reach perfection as a human being. It is only after death that a person can claim they are perfect in the eyes of God. This is why Jesus’ teachings and practices throughout his lifetime emphasize the importance of striving to live a life of holiness and righteousness.
Focusing on his concepts of mercy and love for neighbours, it has been widely accepted for centuries that the best way to attain perfection is to strive for forgiveness. To seek out those who are in need and offer them both material and emotional assistance is how Jesus teaches us to achieve the closest thing to perfection.
The same passages in the Bible also help us to learn how to overcome our imperfections. The importance of understanding our own strengths and weaknesses is magnified in numerous passages throughout the Old and New Testaments. Only through recognising our imperfections, can we start to work on them. As suggested by Jesus himself, earnestly living and working towards perfection is the best way of becoming a more mature Christian.
The notion of striving towards perfection is a surprisingly difficult and often frightening concept to embrace. It is only by reading, interpreting and understanding the Bible that one can begin to truly understand what perfection is and how best to strive towards it.
Living A Life Of Balance
Being perfect is ultimately an ideal and something that is not fully achievable. It requires an understanding of all aspects of life, both material and spiritual, which is why Jesus emphasizes living a life of balance. This refers to a life which is balanced between spiritual values and the everyday lifestyles.
Jesus comes to the realization that different people lead different lives and will have different interpretations of perfection. Despite this, the Bible does urge us to seek perfection when the opportunity presents itself, although it may be difficult to attain. Having a spiritual understanding of perfection and striving to practice it in everyday life – such as in our relationships and other aspects of our lives – ultimately gives us the best chance of achieving a life that is as close to perfect as is possible.
The Bible sees being perfect as something that is achievable, but not without great effort. Yet even still, there is no one ultimate definition of perfection, instead individuals need to of their own interpretation and practice of the ideal as suggested in the Bible.
The Enduring Power Of Faith
Let us not forget that the power of faith is what will guide us when we seek perfection and attempt to put the words of Jesus into practice. The Bible emphasizes that in our pursuit of perfection, we should lean on faith first, but trust in our our own self-discipline and respect for others.
Our journey towards perfection requires practice, effort and ultimately time. Yet it is not an impossible task, but an ongoing effort in which every person can take part in. Having a spiritual understanding of what perfection and striving to practice it as outlined in the Bible will bring us closer to achieving the perfection that has been so sought after since the dawn of time.
The Impermanence Of Perfection
In a more philosophical context, the concept of perfection is also seen as something fluid and ever-changing. This is because perfect is ultimately whatever a person believes it to be, as long as righteousness, love and forgiveness are at the helm. The Bible does not give us step-by-step guides on how to become perfect, but rather enables us to understand what perfection should look like, and that it is our own personal practice that will ultimately be the heading that will direct our paths.
Despite its ephemeral nature, perfection still holds an important place in the eyes of the Bible. It’s importance is found in its ability to teach us what is right, what is meaningful and what resonates with the will of God. To drag attention away from externals and turn it towards what truly matters, which is being a righteous and kind-hearted person in pursuit of knowledge and self-improvement.
The True Path Of Perfection
At the end of the day, understanding what the Bible says about being perfect is up to each individual person. As stated before, Jesus doesn’t point us towards a single standard of perfection, but rather urges us to strive for a balance between faith-driven practices and one’s own interpretation of perfection.
The Bible also encourages us to put a strong focus on our relationships with God and with others. It emphasizes that in order to try and be perfect, we must understand the mercy that is extended to us, and then strive to extend that same mercy to those around us.
We should also remember that perfection should be something that we strive for but never reach. This is because the pursuit of perfection should be something that challenges us, questions us and urges us to build upon our spiritual and earthly paths.
The Interconnectedness Of Perfection And Joy
Most importantly, perfection should bring us joy and happiness. It is not something that brings us closer to a single result, but rather allows us to find peace and contentment in our own faithfulness. It is an onward journey that asks of us to always strive to go further, be better and take on new challenges.
When we think of what it means to be perfect, the Bible serves to remind us that true perfection is found in different places such as our relationships with God and the world, understanding of ourselves and the challenges that we choose to try and how we strive to be better every day.
In conclusion, the Bible’s view of perfection is incredibly unique and multifaceted, and it ultimately alludes to that despite the world’s tendency to focus on what is visible, in the eyes of the Lord, it is our inner works that reign supreme.